Chrys has developed a plugin system for Orca. This plugin system allows you to write plugins for Orca in any language you want. Although not as powerful as a fully integrated plugin system, you can still accomplish a lot with what it can do. In fact, the included plugin manager is written in bash, and it allows you to enable and disable other plugins, as well as download and instal new plugins.
To install the simple plugin system, if you use Arch Linux or one of is derivatives, install the package simpleorcapluginsystem-git located in the AUR.
If you use another distribution, simply innstall manually by doing the following:
git clone https://github.com/chrys87/simple-orca-plugin-system.git
sudo cp -r SOPS /usr/share/
whether you install via package manager or manually, the final step is the same. To integrate the plugin system with Orca, run the following command:
Restart Orca, and the plugin system will be ready to use. By default, the simple plugin system includes the plugin manager, bound toorca+control+p, a plugin to tell you which workspace you are currently using, bound to orca+x, and a plugin to tell you what is currently in the clipboard, bound to orca+c.
Using the plugin manager, you can easily install more plugins. Just select Install New Plugins, then check the plugins you want to install and assign them a keybinding. There are several plugins available for download, and more are being added all the time.
If you need assistance, Chrys and I are usually in the #talkingarch channel on irc.netwirc.tk, also feel free to leave question in the comments, or contact me via the contact form.
Information for creating plugins is available in the docu.txt file included in the SOPS directory. Also, a file called hosting.txt is in the tools directory. If you want to host plugins yourself edit the file, placing your information in the variables, then upload the file to a directory on your server and rename it to index.php. Anything in the directory other than index.php will be listed as a plugin. If you host plugins and want them publically available, send me a link to your site so we can review the offered plugins and include the new site in the plugin manager.
If you just want to have your plugins hosted on an already available server, let me know here in the comments, or on GNU Social as @firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter as @stormdragon2976. Note that I do not check my Twitter all that often, so responces may be delayed.
The Simple Orca Plugin System is easy to use, and very useful. I hope you enjoy it.
Oracle has, in their infinite, "wisdom" laid off the leader of the Gnome accessibility project leader, not to mention the lead developer of Orca. This is a horrific blow to the blind community, especially those who use the Orca screen reader. This move by Oracle was unexpected because in the past they have at least pretended to care about accessibility. I must say that Sun Micro Systems was a great company, I know it will take a lot for Oracle to live up to our expectations, but for them to just abandon Orca like that is ill tidings for the future. What will happen to the accessibility of other products now owned by Oracle? Will Open Office no longer be accessible to the blind? Once the avalanche begins, where will it end? If you, dear reader, care about accessibility I urge you to please take what action you can. Leave a comment here, contact companies, let everyone know that accessibility is important and needs to be taken seriously. Even if you do not use Orca or Linux it still is important to you. Perhaps other companies are watching to see how the blind community responds to this situation. Maybe if this battle is lost it could be the beginning of losing the war. Let your voice be heard. Maybe we can reach them with out resulting to Billboards.
For More information:
A couple of months ago I found out about a service called Sendspace.
It is a great service that allows you to upload files and send links to them by email. You can also use the links on your blog or website if you have limited space or if your host doesn’t allow files to be uploaded. One of the things that makes Sendspace great is the Wizard. Instead of navigating through the Sendspace website to upload or download files, you can install the Wizard and use it instead. It is a very convenient piece of software for Linux, Mac, and Windows. I downloaded the Wizard shortly after creating my account. When I opened the Wizard for the first time, it was almost completely accessible with Orca. There was one exception though, and that one problem prevented me from being able to use the Wizard at all. The local and remote file views are displayed on something that Orca just refers to as panels. I noticed a “send feedback” option in the Wizard’s help menu and selected it. I was taken to the Sendspace website where I filled some information into a form and explained the problem I was having. I had also noticed that two of the keyboard shortcuts used by the Wizard conflicted with shortcuts used by Gnome, so I included that in the message as well.
I have contacted several companies in the past requesting accessibility improvements, or a Linux version of their software. In the past I have met with very little success for my efforts. Usually, after a week or two, the company would respond with some variant of “no”. This was not the case with Sendspace. I received a reply from them almost immediately. The message said that they would begin work on fixing the problems I had described. They were as good as their word too. I even got updates about the progress being made. Last week, the new version for Linux was released. It was slightly behind the Windows version, I suspect because of the problems with getting Orca to read info in those panels. When the new version came out though, it was usable with Orca. It now has a general file selection dialog that Orca can read as well as the panels. The keyboard shortcuts were even fixed. I am really impressed with how fast they responded to and fixed the accessibility issue I reported. It is great to know that a company is dedicated to providing their software to anyone who wants to use it regardless of platform or disability. In fact, Mike, a Sendspace Representative says, "We’ve been committed to accessibility ever since we found out about it and we’ve been improving it slowly but surely since then (on all three platforms, mac, windows and Linux)."
So, if you need to send files that are too large for email attachments or need to host files for your blog or website, get your free Sendspace. account today. Tell your friends and family. When a company s dedicated and responds to accessibility requests as fast as Sendspace, they deserve all the support and promotion we can give them. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this company. Thanks to the Wizard developers for all of your hard work.
orca has a lot of web page navigation keys. If you aren’t the kind of person who has to customize everything you may be unaware of them. There are keys for almost everything you could want, but by default, only a few of them have key bindings. If, for example, you would like to jump to the next combobox on the page you are reading, you can set a key to do so. It isn’t set by default, so you have to open Orca’s preferences for Firefox. To do this, press the Orca key, either insert if you are using desktop layout, or capslock for laptop layout. So, press orca+control+space bar and the Orca preferences for Firefox will open. Use the arrow keys to get to the key bindings tab. Tab over to the function column and then arrow down through the different options. To set a key for one of the choices, press enter while on the item you would like to set a key for and type your choice. Orca will say "Key captured, press enter to confirm". After you have confirmed your choice, tab to the apply or OK button and press enter. You will now be able to use your brand new navigation key on web pages.
Sometimes in Ubuntu, you will want to create global keyboard shortcuts that aren’t possible in the keyboard preferences in the system menu. There are a couple of ways to do this, but probably the easiest is a program called xbindkeys. To get it, open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys xbindkeys-config
If you are using Orca, the screen reader, you don’t need to get xbindkeys-config because Orca doesn’t work with it.
The first thing to do after the program is installed is type:
xbindkeys –defaults > ~/.xbindkeysrc
This basically creates the initial settings for xbindkeys in the file called .xbindkeysrc
After that is done, type:
this command starts the xbindkeys daemon. In order to have it start at login, go to system, preferences, session. On the additional programs tab click add then type xbindkeys in both the name and command boxes. Click add then click close and it will start automatically on login.
To create a keyboard shortcut, you can launch the gui, called xbindkeys-config, by pressing alt-f2 to open the run dialog and type:
For Orca user, the process is a bit different. Because xbindkeys-config doesn’t work with Orca, you will need to open the .xbindkeysrc file and edit it directly. To do this, in your home directory, type:
This will open the file in text editor. Once that is done, use the control-end keys to quickly navigate to the bottom of the file. Move up 3 lines. The bottom 3 lines are basically just a fancy ending for the file. On a blank line above the three bottom lines, you can type in your keyboard shortcut. This consists of two lines. The first is the command you want the keyboard shortcut to execute. To launch orca, for example, you would type the word orca surrounded by quotes:
On the second line comes the actual shortcut. In our example, we shall use control plus alt plus o as the shortcut. So, to put it altogether:
control+alt + o
Press control-s to save the file and close gedit. Now, control-alt-o will launch orca. This can be done for any program you choose. It works on Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and Xubuntu.